Do it! Go see Alaska!

Noordam Cruise Review to Alaska - Gulf of Alaska

Cruises: 1 cruise (first)
Review: 1
Helpful Votes: 23

Overall rating:

4.8 out of 5
Noordam

7 Night Glacier Discovery Southbound (Seward To Vancouver)

Sail date: July 28, 2019

Ship: Noordam

Cabin type: Balcony

Traveled as: Family (young children)

Reviewed: 2 years ago

Review summary

This was our first cruise (one of us doesn’t love being on water- prefers to fly everywhere), but we are world travelers and have definite levels of expectation for our vacations. Excellent cruise - staff and crew on the Noordam were wonderful and friendly. Our children loved Club HAL. Happily surprised at number of children and young families onboard after reading prior reviews. Food Allergies (gf/df) were well taken care of in Main Dining Room without any issues, giving us tremendous peace of mind. We have both heard horrible stories about the long lines for activities and food on mega ships and never stood in line more than 2 minutes anywhere on Noordam. Church services daily, priest and rabbi onboard every cruise. Naturalist speaking in Crow’s Nest was fantastic. Would recommend to anyone. We completely enjoyed everything and will talk about this trip for years to come!

Embarkation

5 out of 5
We arrived by train in Seward from Anchorage around 11 and walked over to Noordam. All 3 staterooms for our group were ready before noon, an hour prior to boarding time on our boarding passes. Our extended family of 7 found everyone polite and helpful with plenty of people to direct us. Very easy embarkation for us overall with two children in tow.

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

5 out of 5
I have a food allergy/sensitivities to gluten and dairy and the Main Dining Room took excellent care of me. I preordered the next evening’s meal (my waiter would give me the next day’s menu at the end of dinner to mark with my allergies and choices) on all but embarkation day. They did have items marked on the main dining room menu as gf, df or vegetarian - but made my meals to order since I needed both gf and df. I also ate lettuce wrapped burgers and chicken sandwiches at the Dive In by the Lido pool after talking with their chef. I ate salad bar on the Lido buffet a few times at lunch and had a hot meal from the line once (coconut rice and chicken dish) but it seemed to be too much work to find the chef (not a server) to tell me what I could eat safely, so I did not eat more than the salad bar there. They had gf buns, but I did not try those. The Main Dining Room did give me toasted gf bread at dinner most evenings. Excellent dining room service - I cannot day enough how great the staff/crew was the entire cruise. We had open seating and the dining room was fairly full at 5:30 every night. I never got sick with a (non fatal) food allergy - for which I give Holland America 5 stars. My parents recently cruised to Hawaii on another major cruise line and said HAL’s food was very comparable, if not slightly better.

Onboard Activities

4 out of 5
My kids (early elementary ages) swam in the Lido pool (with dome roof) once and we enjoyed the hot tubs. One or two games of ping pong and shooting hoops on the basketball court, but no other activities. We did look at the fitness center. Since this was Alaska and we had a balcony, we spent a lot of time outside looking at the views. If we were on a less scenic cruise, we would have appreciated more physical activities. We walked on the promenade several times.

Entertainment

4 out of 5
We loved the Lincoln Center performances. They were amazing. We are in our early 40s. The BB King’s All Stars put on great performances but the music was not our typical choice. Piano bar was excellent but we did not get to spend much time there. Actual shows on the stage were ok but not things we would choose. We very much appreciated the ship’s Naturalist and the Park Ranger talks in Glaciar Bay- again, we were here for the scenery of Alaska, not to be entertained all the time by performers, so this would not be a negative for this type of cruise.

Children's Programs

4 out of 5
I was concerned about how my kids would like Club HAL iafter reading the reviews. They loved it and asked to go daily (we sent them every night after dinner so we could enjoy shows). However, we were surprised at the number of children onboard. Plenty of kids their ages during summer cruises to Alaska, apparently. I asked the Kids Club director and she told me they had 120 kids under 12 on our cruise and had had 180 on a prior summer cruise! Honestly, 120 kids was the perfect amount - never more than 10 kids in the Lido pool.

Service and Staff

5 out of 5
If I could give our waiters and room stewards more than 5 stars, I would. Smiling, helpful faces everywhere. Service was impeccable.

Ship Quality

5 out of 5
Everything was clean- there was always someone cleaning some part of the ship as we walked around.

Cabin / Stateroom

5 out of 5
Great quad room, we used the Pullman for our two children.

Ports of call

Seward (Anchorage), Alaska

5 out of 5
Embarkation port. We stayed in Anchorage and took the Alaska Railroad down to Seward.

Cruise Glacier Bay

5 out of 5

Haines, Alaska

4 out of 5
Gorgeous location, but not many options without taking the $75 RT fast ferry to Skagway. We walked around town, checked out the IGA grocery store pricing and got the kids ice cream before letting them run and play on hiking trails and playgrounds. Spotted several bald eagles.

Juneau, Alaska

5 out of 5
Loved Juneau, we had fish and chips for lunch then took Mount Roberts Tramway and did the hiking trail at the top. My kids enjoyed watching the totem pole artists carving area. Very scenic port as we cruised into our berth (portside balcony). We spotted many bald eagles.

Ketchikan, Alaska

5 out of 5
Another beautiful port. We did the Lumberjack show - somewhat corny, but we all enjoyed it. We also spent time on Creek Street and walked up Married Man’s Trail to the Salmon Ladder - it took us a bit to find the best spot, but the Salmon were jumping and easily kept my kids mesmerized for 45 min (during which we spotted about 40 salmon). We walked along the river and were told by several people that there was a bear going through a neighborhood trash can ahead. We missed him, much to my one child’s relief and another’s disappointment. We heard several people spotted bears up along Married Man’s Trail and beyond.

Cruise Inside Passage, Alaska

5 out of 5
Lovely. We spotted 3-4 whales, dolphins and porpoises directly under our balcony in the late afternoon as we entered the passage.

Vancouver (Canada Place), British Columbia

4 out of 5
Enjoyed Capilano Suspension Bridge Park.

Disembarkation

5 out of 5
Great - asked for late disembarkation since we had a hotel room in Vancouver. We were able to eat breakfast in the MainDining Room with plenty of time left before we needed to leave.

Traveler Photos

Portside balcony early AM in Juneau Main Dining Room Entree Salad - not preordered (embarkation day dinner) gluten/dairy free Main Dining Room preordered gf/df Quad Stateroom with Pullman and Sofa bed
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